Next Stop Portugal!
A match report for Chelsea FC’s historic 4-1 (5-4 agg) win over Napoli to reach the quarter final stages of the Champions League and land a tie with Benfica.
Writer: Lewis Taylor
On the morning of March the 16th all Chelsea fans put down there cups of tea, stopped talking and payed attention to the announcement in Switzerland, The champions league quarter final draw.
I know it’s a little late, but here’s a report on that incredible Wednesday night at the bridge that was filled with adrenaline and excitement, and ultimately took Chelsea one-step closer to the final.
A home game against Napoli offered a mouthwatering game. Even The biggest fan Of the champions league, Roman Ambramovich, couldnt resist this night at the bridge.
Memories of past epic games came to mind such as the comeback against Barcelona and the thrilling game against Liverpool, both of which are worthy of gracing any ‘greatest games of all time’ DVD. The same tension and nerves filled the hearts of the Chelsea faithful. Chelsea needed to overturn a 3-1 away defeat to Manchester City’s conquerors Napoli. A Mata away goal gave us hope.
Chelsea started the game in a nervous fashion. Napoli attacked in number with Cavani, Lavazzi and Hamsik all looking up for it. Cavani put the ball into the side netting from a tight angle when he should maybe have done better. Cech had to be sharp also to save a vicious strike from Lavazzi, scorer of a brace in Italy.
Di Matteo started the game with a mixture of youth and experience. Michael Essien started in the middle for the suspended Mereiles. Daniel Sturridge, David Luiz and Mata also coming into the starting 11.
It was the old guard that proved their worth. Ramires setting up the the mighty Drogba with a sublime diving header. The bridge erupted with the sound of ”CHELSEA,CHELSEA, CHELSEA!!!!!” Chelsea looked in the mood, a corner coming in from Lamps to meet the head of our very own captain marvel John Terry. Terry sprinting past Napolis poor marking and guiding the ball into the left of the goal.
Chelsea were buzzing, however it didn’t last for long as Inler picked up the ball on the edge of the box and rifled an incredible strike past Petr Cech. Suddenly the mood changed Napoli could be heard with an almighty roar of chants. Things where never going to be easy from here on.
As we approached the final stages of the game, an Ivanovic header directed at goal struck a rising Napoli hand and not the hand of the goalkeeper. The ref pointed straight to the spot and a Chelsea legend wearing number 8, Super Franky Lampard stepped up.
Lamps placed the ball on the spot looked up at the Matthew Harding stand, people all around held the breath and paused there flag waving. The ref blew the whistle and wooosh!! Lamps smashed the ball home. Chelsea 3 Napoli 1.
We managed to hold on until extra time. Changes were made, a disappointing image of John Terry limping off for Jose Bosingwa. Ivanovic switched to centre back. And the impressive Fernado Torres came on.
With half time in extra time almost upon us, Didier Drogba then sent a cross low into the path of an unmarked Ivanovic. Without any thought Ivanovic smashed the ball into the roof of the net. Stamford Bridge was the place to be, the noise was incredible. Chelsea where winning 4-1 (5-4 on aggregate).
Didier Drogba used his ummmm ‘footballing brain’ to win a few free kicks, one of which Tom Daley would have been proud of. Although it payed off as the clock ticked on. Screams came from the bench, but not from the manager, but from John Terry who was shouting at Essien to cover for the injured David Luiz.
With a last kick up the field. The refs whistle was greeted with an eruption of cheers and excitement, Chelsea had done it. Di Matteo raced on the pitch jumping on the players like a little kid. Crisis, what crisis?! Whatever had been said about Chelsea before this game became irrelevant, as this performance has to be regarded as one of the greatest victorys of all time in the clubs history.
Next stop Benifica. Chelsea where drawn out of the hat and will face a tricky test against Portuguese side Benifica. Who knows what lies ahead , but the feeling around Stamford Bridge is that this could be the year the mighty CFC lift the champions league trophy.
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